Saturday, September 24, 2005

NYT: "3 in 82 Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine" (Eric Schmitt)

Three former members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division say members of their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves.
The new allegations, the first involving members of the elite 82nd Airborne, are contained in a report by Human Rights Watch. They have also been reported by one of the soldiers, a decorated Army captain, to top aides of two senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John W. Warner of Virginia, the chairman, and John McCain of Arizona.
The captain approached the aides after he tried to report the allegations to his superiors for 17 months, the aides said. The aides also said they found the captain's accusations credible enough to warrant investigation.

The above is from Eric Schmitt's "3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine" in this morning's New York Times. It's rare that a spotlight story makes the front page of the paper.

Richard A. Oppel, Jr. has "Bus Stop Blast Kills 6 Iraqis; 3 G.I.'s Die in Other Attacks" which runs down the fighting in Ramadi, the assassination of two Iraqi officials (both with the Interior Ministry), the death of an Iraqi man held by the American military who is said to have been fighting a guard when called for questioning (he was shot in the chest), and the death of three American soldiers (Ramadi on Thursday -- "small-arms fire"; Al Taqaddum on Thursday -- roadside bomb; near Baghdad on Friday -- roadside bomb). In addition, a bomb in Karbala killed a child, and a bomb in Baghdad killed six people. The totals from the official count of US military fatalities in Iraq stands at 1914 since the beginning of the invasion and 30 for the month.

In a seven paragraph story, noted in an e-mail by Joan, the Times takes five paragraphs before using, once, the term "genocide." And then they says "recognized as genocide by several European governments." The article's by Sebnem Arsu and the issue is one that's plauged the Times for some time, the genocide of Armenians in Turkey in 1915. The article's entitled "Seminar on 1915 Massacre of Armenians to Go Ahead." The seminar has had to switch locations due to court actions attempting to block it. "The conference is to be the first time in Turkey that the killings have been publicly examined. More than 50 intellectuals, scholars and writers are to analyze the massacres, which took place from 1915 to 1917 and have been recognized as genocide by several European governments."

Though the editorials have yet to address the Pentagon's attempt to circumvent the public (wanting secret hearings on Able Danger everyone will no doubt feel safe and informed to know that the editorials take on the pressing, public safety issue of "public toilets."

Meow-Meow (Rebecca's name for Bill Frist) is trying to justify his sale of stocks (in a family owned hospital) before the values plunged. Subpoenas may or may not be about to be served.
Don't fret Meow-Meow, NBC can always hold a spot for you on a future spin-off of The Apprentice. (David D. Kirkpatrick is the Times reporter trying to make sense of a story -- one where an "aide" to Meow-Meow seems less than forthcoming.) Lawrence K. Altman answers the question that absorbed much discussion between Rebecca and Mike yesterday, "Where is Dick Cheney?" Set to have "minimally invasive" surgery (the Times calls it a "procedure" in Lawrence K. Altman's article) today. Which can only mean one thing -- more debate and battles between Rebecca and Mike as they both attempt to seize the title of President now that the Bully Boy has fled the coop to avoid the protests. (Actually, some would argue that the title's up for grabs due to the elections of 2000 and 2004. ) Who will be the last one standing? Rebecca? Mike? (For those who missed it, both have jokingly announced that with cut & run Bully Boy hightailing it out of D.C., they are the President of the United States. What? You really wanted Geena Davis? The Accidental Tourist really wasn't that good.) (And Pfeiffer should have won for Dangerous Liasons.)

No one e-mailed on this and I would have missed it if Ty wasn't looking at an ad on the page (we've ripped the paper apart amongst all of us) (those of us who are awake anyway), David S. Cloud's "Psychologist Calls Private in Abu Ghraib Abuse Photographs 'Overly Compliant' (page A28 -- the arts section begins on A20 so some readers of the print version may not make it to A28, talk about burying a story). Okay, here's the gist. The judge has stated that no to whether Lynndie England could determine right and wrong. And her lawyers aren't copping a plea of "criminally insane" . . . they're trying to argue "partial mental responsibility."

I'm no Star Jones (for which I am thankful each and every day), but if I'm remembering correctly, this is something floated in 2002. Back then, when the change was being discussed, the defense would have to give advance warning to the judge, either of the argument or the calling of expert witnesses to advance the argument. The judge is quoted explaining it (a fuzzy explanation and, not being Star Jones or shopping at Payless, I can't offer anyone further help there) so one could guess that the judge (Colonel Pohl) was given the heads up, but it's a guess because the article doesn't nail that point down. Presumably, the judge made the statement to jurors of the court-martial, in instructing the jurors; however the way it reads, he could have offered it to Cloud. The whole thing strikes me as the Nussbaum defense of the eighties.

So what's coming up? Cedric didn't e-mail to ask that, he's sitting here fighting over the paper with everyone. (I guess I'm the only one in the room who's wondering why we're in D.C. but reading the Times and not the Post? Washington Post. I mean, I have no choice, what's the others' excuse?) (Have no choice due to these entries.) Here's what's coming up (before I am lost in the parentheticals, sung to the tune of The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket"), we'll repost what's coming up this evening and tomorrow evening on The Laura Flanders Show to make sure everyone's aware (note in that the mid-day appearance by Flanders and Amy Goodman as they give coverage of the rallies on Dish TV), Kat's got an album review to go up, Ruth has Ruth's Morning Edition Report and there may be dictated entries from the protests. Ideally, there will be the latter, but no promises.

Mike, who's crowding me as he reads from the laptop screen over my shoulder, says to say who's here. Ruth and her granddaughter Tracey, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and his parents and girlfriend Nina, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man and her children, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ava, Jess and his parents, Ty, and Jim and his father. Isaiah is supposed to be here but no word from or sight of him yet. I'm tired so let me call that out to make sure I didn't forget someone. Ava says to note that our TV review will be in tomorrow's edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review but it may be a mixed bag. (Meaning it may be the usual length but covering several items. The show we watched for our review, only the first half thus far, hasn't left us with a great deal to write about.)

We're going to be late, this is going up as is. No additional entries on things to supplement your Times readings with.

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